Dictionary > Pruritus


The intense, chronic itching
pruritic, adjective
Of, pertaining to, or characterized by pruritus
Pruritus is a Latin term for itch. It is associated with scratch reflex that incites the desire to rub or scratch the affected skin area. Scratching provides relief from the itch sensation; it is a means to remove the cause of itch, particularly an object or an insect on one’s skin causing the sensation. The frontal brain areas of reward and decision making may be associated with the compulsive tendency to scratch.1 There are various factors that leads to pruritus. One of these factors is the presence of a foreign agent. The skin in contact with insects and parasites for instance can stimulate the scratch reflex. Scratching is a natural means of the body to remove the irritant. Infectious agents (e.g. Varicella causing chickenpox) and allergens (e.g. chemicals from food, fragrances, and plants) may also cause pruritus to the skin affected. Dermatologic disorders, such as eczema, dandruff, scar growth, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, etc. may also cause pruritus.
Word origin: Latin prūrītus ‎(“itch, itching”), from prūriō ‎(“itch”)
See also:

Related term(s):

  • Bath pruritus
  • Pruritus ani
  • Pruritus balnea
  • Pruritus hiemalis
  • Pruritus senilis
  • Reference(s):

    1 Ikoma, A., Steinhoff, M., Ständer, S., Yosipovitch, G., and Schmelz, M. (2006). “The neurobiology of itch”. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 7 (7): 535–47.

    You will also like...

    IQ, Creativity and Learning
    IQ, Creativity and Learning

    Human intelligence provided the means to utilize abstract ideas and implement reasoning. This tutorial takes a further l..

    An artist's depiction of the origin of amphibians
    Amphibians & Early Reptiles

    Obtaining air outside an aquatic environment required species to acquire suitable adaptations, and this was the case of ..

    Protein Synthesis

    Part of the genetic information is devoted to the synthesis of proteins. mRNA, a type of RNA, is produced as a transcri..


    Bryophytes are a plant group characterized by being nonvascular. They include the mosses, the liverworts, and the hornwo..

    Early Earth
    The Origins of Life

    This tutorial digs into the past to investigate the origins of life. The section is split into geological periods in the..

    Chemical effects on plant growth and development
    Effect of Chemicals on Growth & Development in Organisms

    Plants and animals need elements, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium for proper growth and developme..